Monday 21 May 2018

Baby died after eating popcorn off creche floor

A TODDLER died from complications after choking on a piece of popcorn she had picked up in a creche.

Little Lauren Meehan-O'Byrne of Shanabooly Road, Ballynanty, Limerick died in Temple Street Children's Hospital, five days after being transferred there from the Mid Western Regional Hospital.

The 18-month-old had been attending the creche at St Munchin's Family Resource Centre at Ballynanty on the morning of Monday, March 14, 2011 when the tragic incident occurred.

A member of staff saw Lauren begin to cough -- the children had not been eating at the time. She realised that something was wrong.


Dublin Coroner's Court heard that staff at the creche made extensive efforts to assist the little girl, including doing the Heimlich manoeuvre and CPR, as well as notifying emergency services who were quickly on the scene.

Evidence was given that the previous Friday, some older children had watched a DVD in the toddler room and had eaten popcorn.

City coroner Dr Brian Farrell said that it seemed on the "the balance of probability" that the popcorn kernel may have been present in the room, following a viewing of a DVD on the Friday previous, and "that baby Lauren found it, I would have thought and unfortunately it became lodged".

The court heard how Lauren suffered irreparable brain damage after suffering a cardiac arrest. She had been transferred to Dublin from the Mid Western Regional Hospital, but died in hospital on March 19.

Medical staff at the Mid Western Regional Hospital had removed a popcorn kernel which was "wedged" and found no evidence of any other foreign body.

The pathology report showed the little girl had suffered complications following the aspiration of a corn kernel into the airways.


Dr Farrell extended his deepest sympathies to the little girl's devastated parents David O'Bryne and Emer Meehan who were present in court yesterday.

He said: "She probably went unconscious very quickly."

Sergeant Bernie Leech said that she received a file on the incident from Fitzgibbon Street Garda Station.

She said there were no suspicious circumstances in relation to the tragic incident at Sunshine Childcare Centre.

Dr Farrell said: "This was a tragic accident."

He recorded a formal verdict of accidental death.

He said he would write a letter to the HSE making a recommendation arising out of the circumstances of Lauren's death.


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